No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

In these glorious Antipodes a storm has blown up in the conventional and the social media — not the series of sub-tropical storms that have been wreaking havoc with our homes and power poles, but a storm of opprobrium. It concerns (as you might expect)1 a rugby player. This rugby player expressed a theological opinion concerning the eternal destiny of some other people. Since rugby players are quasi-divine, naturally, his opinion on this matter is of huge importance….

Many of my Christian friends are (rightly) concerned about issues of tolerance and the possible suppression of religious views that dissent from the majority opinion (especially when those dissenting views are our own). In this respect several decades of liberalism have made us unprepared for such a resurgence of the Spanish Inquisition. But then no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I am more interested in the theological question, is Israel Folau correct that gays are going to hell?

On what grounds might we say this with theological authority? If sin alone is the grounds then we are all doomed, if unrepented sin, I suspect likewise… Or is there a scale of sins with some (mine and your’s perhaps?) being venial and others (on whose unacceptability to God we agree) being mortal – ah, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  1. You might expect this since rugby players here play the quasi-divine role that billionaires and film stars play in the USA, or royalty in some more conservative places. []

2 comments on “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!


    I’m interested in the theological issue, Tim.
    But I’m also interested in the ‘inquisition’ issue too – perhaps more so, as it MAY be easier to get some consensus, and it MAY be even more urgent.
    The media have tackled this with a fervour and style which display some ‘inquisition-like’ characteristics, e.g. selective use of Folau’s comments; printing “HELL” in capital letters; describing his comments as “homophobic” (on TV1 6pm News no less!) etc.
    This has of course been a common pattern in media for a long time, and is one point that President Trump makes (“fake news”) which people might actually be able to agree on.
    As far as Folau’s actual comments are concerned, I found his full article which was reported on a sports site, to be gracious and balanced.
    Whether he was correct in what he said, or wise to say it when/how he did, is of course being hotly debated.
    But there’s also a view being expressed that he should not have even said them. If he holds such views he should keep them to himself.
    I’m reminded of the saying “I may not agree with your view, but I will fight to the hilt to defend your right to express it”.
    If we don’t take that position, don’t we undermine the foundation of freedom of speech and belief?
    And if we lose that, doesn’t it also undermine our ability and freedom to debate the theological issue?

  2. tim

    What interested me was that from where I sit both the media (in their treatment of Follau) and many of my Christian friends (in their willingness to support the claim that ‘gays are going to hell’ – and whatever Follau said that is what many Christian commentators on Facebook have taken him to have said) seem to me to be acting like the Spanish Inquisition in their desire to quash ideas and behaviours of which they, respectively, disapprove.